Dynamic Villains: The Characters You Love To Hate

How to Create Those Villains We Hate (But Still Want to Love)

By: Loni Cameron

Last week, MJ Moores,our Board Director, hosted a free members-only workshop on creating Dynamic Villains. A Dynamic Villain is multi-faceted: one with back story used in just the right way. They are villains we might empathize with, who might not be entirely bad, who we might secretly root for. These villains speak to us on a deeper level, we learn, and want to learn, why they are doing what they are doing. MJ discussed the effect a writer might want the villain to have, avoiding stereotypes and how to build on archetypes.

We learned about a villain’s “Soul Scars”, the term written about in Sacha Black’s, 13 Steps to Evil. These are the scars, the effects of traumatic events, that the villain carries around with them. These scars don’t just affect the villain’s nefarious purposes, but also how they behave in general. We need to (and want) to know why the villain’s wants/needs/desires are opposite to that of the hero.

MJ discussed how to create an “echo of fear” akin to JK Rowling’s Voldemort. Rowling creates a character so fear-inducing, people are afraid to say his name. This doesn’t have to be graphic, it can just be a sense that forces the hero to take a step back. There is also the aspect of “dueling desires”; what the villain wants being opposite of what the hero wants or both have the same goal but very different ideas for how to achieve it.

A dynamic villain isn’t evil for the sake of being evil. A writer has to ask questions.

MJ also gave us a chance to workshop our villains. With a partner, we created new villains, using the tools MJ taught us. Two of our writers also got to dive deeper into the motivations of their personal villains. The Dynamic Villains workshop gave us ideas about how to create deeper, more complex villains, and it reminded us to give them as much attention as our heroes.

Upcoming Events:

Sunday, Nov 4, 2018, 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Writing and Author Platform Go Hand in Hand with Elaine Cougler.

Thursday, Nov 22, 2018 – 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – The Pliable Writer with Craig Hodgins.

Save the following dates for these special events (details to follow):

The Bookshelf Bookfair,  Saturday, May 25th, 2019

WCYR’s Writers’ Symposium, Saturday, Octorber 26th, 2019


Written by

When Loni isn't reading other people's words or running around after her two young children, she spends time writing stories of her own. She finds inspiration in the little things, but also in momentous events. Loni currently resides in York Region. Twitter: @LoniStorm Instagram: loni_storm Facebook: @LoniCameronWriter

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